Around The World In 31 Days Of Horror: Canada

Around the World in 31 Days of HorrorCanada’s film industry has long been overshadowed by our neighbour, the good ole U.S. of A. But that doesn’t mean that Canada hasn’t made some excellent films.

Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies for example. But where Canada really shines is in the low-budget horror genre. Master filmmaker David Cronenberg got his start making some the more nastier horror movies ever put on screen. Rabid, Shivers, The Brood and of course The Fly helped launch Cronenberg’s career. There have been many more excellent horror films such as Cube, Ginger Snaps, Pontypool and The Changeling. More than a couple of them I’ve featured on previous 31 Days of Horror.

Black ChristmasBut today’s movie is special. It’s the movie that kickstarted the slasher genre. 1974’s Black Christmas, directed by Bob Clark, was one of the first slasher films, preceding Halloween and Friday the 13th.

The story is set near Christmas and a group of sorority girls are getting ready to leave the sorority house for the holidays. The girls have been getting obscene phone calls lately and with the latest drunken sorority girl Margot Kidder manages to antagonize the caller into threatening her. Soon people start going missing, one by one. And the calls keep coming. Later the main girl, Olivia Hussey, gets the police to tap the phone line only to discover a shocking truth.

The movie is well made despite it’s low budget ($620, 000). And it’s scary. Clark builds the tension and keeps things about the killer nice and ambiguous. It’s a film that’s earned it’s reputation and it’s proudly Canadian. Plus there’s something about Christmas horror movies that fascinate and amuse me.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.

10 thoughts on “Around The World In 31 Days Of Horror: Canada”

  1. This is another really good choice, and frankly it’s head and shoulders above “Pontypool”.

  2. Haven’t seen Pontypool yet. But I’m intrigued by the twist it’s supposed to bring to the zombie genre and I’m a big Stephen McHattie fan. Did you see Life With Billy? It’s a different kind of Canadian horror film — a story of just really awful, awful domestic violence. I don’t actually like the film. It has a lot of problems. But the leads, McHattie and Nancy Beatty, are amazing.

  3. “Life With Billy” was pretty hard to watch, but those actors had really meaty roles, and made the most of them.
    “Pontypool” shows up on Space every so often; that’s where I saw it.

  4. Just a quick mention of David Cronenberg’s work: “Scanners”, “eXistenZ”, “M. Butterfly”, and “Naked Lunch” are really good, but “Dead Ringers” was awful.

  5. I saw his Crash in Fredericton when it came out. Don’t know if I’ve ever seen a movie so thoroughly hated by an audience. I mean, there were people there who dug it, but I think the bulk of the crowd wanted to beat up the screen.

    Personally, I can’t say how I felt about it. I was dating someone at the time who really liked it so I can’t trust my memory of what I thought. Maybe I hated it but said I liked it because I wanted to sound cool. Or maybe I loved it and said I hated it because I wanted to sound cool. Either way, all I can say for certain is sounding cool was much higher on my list of concerns than honestly appraising the film was.

  6. I quite enjoyed Pontypool. It has a clever premise and portrays a wintry claustrophobia that is all too relatable.

  7. Wasn’t Life With Billy based on a true story? Recall a book about a Nova Scotia woman who was a surivor of domesitc abuse that was published 30 years ago under the same title.

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